Scenes like the one above are all too common when there's a major traffic accident on I-380 between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City/Coralville. The Iowa Transportation Commission has taken a huge step toward making the interstate six lanes between the two large metropolitan areas.

The Gazette reports that on Tuesday the Iowa Transportation Commission (ITC) created a buffer zone for Interstate 380. That allows for the future expansion of the interstate to six lanes from Highway 30 in Cedar Rapids to North Liberty.

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I-380 is currently being expanded to six lanes from I-80 to 1.2 miles north of Forevergreen Road, according to the IDOT. That expansion is part of the ongoing reconstruction of the I-80/I-380 interchange.

Cathy Cutler, district transportation planner for the Iowa Department of Transportation (IDOT), says an expansion of I-380 around North Liberty is scheduled to begin in 2024. She also told the Gazette the seemingly always busy Penn Street interchange (mile marker 4) will be rebuilt as part of that project.

So when will the rest of I-380 in the corridor get its much-needed expansion? There's no definitive date just yet, but the new designation by the ITC will help assure developers don't build in areas that will need to be utilized for the future widening of the interstate.

Here's hoping the IDOT is able to put the I-380 expansion project on the fast track because anyone who drives the approximate 16-miles between Highway 30 and Interstate 80 knows, more lanes are needed. Now. And the need seems to grow more every day.

IDOT Reconstruction Plan For I-80 & First Avenue in Coralville

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